HCM CITY – (VNS) Viet Nam recorded a hard fought 2-1 victory over a dogged 10-woman Myanmar side in the last match of the group stage at the ASEAN Women's Football Championships.
|Foot first: Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung (right) vies for a ball against Myanmar's Nylar Myint in the last group round match of the regional football championship. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Nhut
The win pushes Viet Nam to the top of Group A with nine points from three matches. The hosts will now face the Group B runner-up in the semi-finals tomorrow.
Viet Nam started the match the better team and piled pressure on the Myanmar goal, leading to an early penalty after a Myanmar defender fouled Nguyen Thi Muon in the box.
Hong's first effort was kept out by Burmese goalkeeper Ya Min but she recovered to slot home the rebound.
The goal lifted the Vietnamese, who controlled the match for the next 20 minutes and created some clear-cut chances but failed to convert.
Two minutes after the opening goal, Ya Min had to dive at full stretch to parry Vietnamese striker Muon's close-range header. On the half hour mark, Ya Min was once again called upon, saving Hong's powerful free kick from outside the box.
Myanmar rallied back in the final 15 minutes of the first half, with a series of dangerous attacks and their efforts were rewarded with an equaliser in the 39th minute with a close range angled header from Maw from Nilar Myint's corner.
Following the interval, Viet Nam regained control but Nguyen Thi Muon and substitute Nguyen Thi Minh Nguyet failed to convert several chances.
Myanmar's Zar Chi Oo was controversially shown a red card in the 63th minute for punching Nguyen Thi Xuyen, who had already fallen to the ground. Shortly after the incident, Mynamar was awarded a penalty following Nguyen Hai Hoa's foul on Myint in the penalty area. However, Vietnamese goalkeeper Trinh saved it.
With the extra player, Viet Nam took control of the rest of the second half and their second goal came after Kieu lofted the ball over advancing keeper Ya Min. However, the narrow lead left fans and the Vietnamese dugout breathing a sigh of relief at the final whistle.
"Both teams put in a great deal of effort today," said Viet Nam coach Chen Yun Fat at the post-match press conference. "The match was even but luck smiled on Viet Nam."
"The spirit the players showed today was acceptable but the poor surface of the pitch affected both teams," he added. "I didn't see the incident that led to the red card, so I can't comment on the situation."
Meanwhile, Myanmar's coach assitant Thet Thet Win was happy with her players' performance but not happy with the Australian referee's decision to give her team a red card.
"We reacted angrily over the incident that led to the red card in the second half because the lineswoman didn't do her job. She should have informed what she saw to the referee but she didn't do that," she said.
Myanmar, who finished second in Group A with six points after two wins and one defeat, will play against the winner of Group B. — VNS